(Bloomberg) -- The Zambian government said President Edgar Lungu hasn’t committed any offence that warrants the impeachment motion the opposition has brought to parliament.
“On face value it’s extremely frivolous,” government spokeswoman Dora Siliya said in comments broadcast by Lusaka-based Hot FM Tuesday. “We know that this motion is baseless and it’s purely a political gimmick by the opposition to remain relevant.”
The opposition motion has ratcheted up tension in the southern African nation, where the political atmosphere has been volatile since United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema lost a disputed 2016 election to Lungu. Hichilema last year spent about four months in prison on treason charges for not pulling over his motorcade on a rural road for the president’s convoy. The charges were later dropped, and Lungu lifted emergency measures that he had earlier imposed. The Commonwealth is leading talks to defuse the stiuation.
The UPND has the signatures of a third of Zambia’s 167-member parliament who support the motion, according to the document. Zambia’s constitution requires the support of two-thirds of the National Assembly for such a proposal to succeed. The ruling Patriotic Front has 89 members, or 54 percent of the total, according to parliament’s website.
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